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Glaxo Case Solution

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The case study develops around how a pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, allows free access to its intellectual capital. Information on 13500 compounds was made available for foreign individuals, those belonging to a public crowd, to research and develop a cure for malaria. Initially, the aspect of crowdsourcing is discussed to analyse what the term tends to entail around its structure. A critical analysis is drawn around how crowdsourcing tends to attribute various elements of management and marketing. Challenges and problems that volunteers may come across when researching and developing a cure for malaria are discussed in depth. Causes and roots for these problems are highlighted in an attempt to realise the connotations of why such obstacles prevail. An analysis on how the database of intellectual capital provided by GlaxoSmithKline will help volunteers in their search for a cure of malaria.

Following questions are answered in this case study solution

  1. Introduction

  2. What lies behind the term Crowdsourcing?

  3. Analysis of Glaxo’s Crowdsourcing Paradigm

  4. Potential Obstacles in the Fight to End Malaria 

  5. How GSK’s Intellectual Capital makes it easy?

  6. Conclusion

Case Analysis for Glaxo

2. What lies behind the term Crowdsourcing?

Crowdsourcing was initially coined by Howe back in 2006 when he mentioned the term in his Wired Magazine Article (Wazny, 2017). In his article, Howe refers to crowdsourcing as an act undertaken by a firm which allows a function previously carried out by the employees of the company to a larger network of people, that isn’t a part of the company and hence outsource that particular function (Howe, 2006). The article by Howe emphasised how this philosophy of outsourcing the information to the masses is a methodology which matches information with those who need it (Wazny, 2017).

The aspect of crowdsourcing relates to the philosophy of open innovation in available research. A company allows a large number of people, which constitute of the term ‘crowd' in crowdsourcing, to co-create from the company's available database (Ghezzi, et al., 2018). The concept thereby allows individuals to access intellectual capital held within the databanks of companies and ensure that innovative proceedings are extracted (Chui, et al., 2012). This permits diffusion of information from the company’s database which would not have been made available with the resources held by the company (Chanal & Caron‐Fasan, 2010) (Schenk & Guittard, 2011).

Relatively, Crowdsourcing is newly emerged term when compared with other marketing and management concepts. It has also been quoted as a process which accommodates outsourcing of knowledge online in a way referred to as an ‘open call’ (Whitla, 2009). Initially the concept was popular in the computer and technology industry, however, in recent times various businesses have ripped benefits from this diverse approach.

Consumer researchers have found the concept of crowdfunding impressive enough that they have started to extract data from outsources databanks (Tapscott & Williams, 2006). Hence, the recently risen concept gives an enlightened meaning to the art of convenience sampling. Crowdfunding platforms tend to deliver highly efficient sets of data that can be accessed at any point in time, are geographically and demographically diverse and hence tend to more cost efficient than other types of sampling (Digouta, et al., 2013).

3. Analysis of Glaxo’s Crowdsourcing Paradigm

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a global pharmaceutical company which came into being upon the merger of Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham about two decades ago, in 2000. The enterprise comes featured as one of the Fortune Global 500 companies and has acquired a place among the top ten global companies operating in the pharmaceutical industry (MBA Skool, 2018). Along with impressive credentials and an experienced brand name in the global pharmaceutical market, the company accommodates a diverse array of intellectual capital and knowledge that has been gained after years of research and development. However, the company has made information and intellectual capital on 13500 compounds available to the public.  

The primary reason associated with this recent intellectual capital disclosure to the public is that the company lacks time and money to put in efforts in finding a cure for neglected diseases such as malaria. The main reason highlighted by experts for the company not finding the cure for malaria itself is that diseases, such as malaria, tend to thrive in undeveloped regions of the globe. These undeveloped regions, not only house such neglected diseases but also the civilisations that live hear cannot afford expensive medicines. With lack of profits available in producing medicines for diseases such as malaria, large pharmaceutical giants like GSK avoid finding a cure for malaria.

However, the company's act of outsourcing its intellectual data online is in an attempt to implement crowdsourcing. This will allow researchers to take advantage of the available data and either end up finding a cure for neglected diseases or come across any innovative element of knowledge that can be put to good use for the benefit of the global community. 

The crowdsourcing of intellectual capital on 13500 compounds will surely earn the firm a positive image and therefore irrespective of the fact that it was a marketing ploy at the end of the company, it surely would bring positive brand image and brand equity to the company and hence become an impressive marketing tactic (Whitla, 2009). However, on the other hand, the company acknowledged that this information is made available to masses for a greater good and that GSK would not enjoy or ask for any sort of royalty or exclusivity from the innovative solution found by volunteers.

4. Potential Obstacles in the Fight to End Malaria 

As of now, there is just one medicine available to fight malaria, primaquine, which must be administered for fourteen consecutive days. One of the biggest challenges faced in finding the cure for malaria is that the disease tends to relapse (GlaxoSmithKline plc, 2018). This, therefore, highlights that in case volunteers are successfully able to research and develop a cure for the primary occurrence of malaria, it would not be solely effective. This is because they would then have to research as to how to control the reoccurrence factor. It is also difficult to include the reoccurrence factor during the research. This is because the intellectual capital made public by Glaxo includes information regarding 13500 compounds; however, the information database made public doesn’t include any study subjects or any proposed candidates where field research can be conducted on. This is because field research is essential for successful development.

One of the other greatest challenges that volunteers or primarily anyone who try to develop a cure for malaria would come across is scientific in nature. The scientific hurdle that volunteers would come across is that one of a basic compound, Tafenoquine belongs to the chemical family of primaquine and carries significant side-effects when administered to patients (GlaxoSmithKline plc, 2018). Side-effects of this chemical may lead to tiredness, dizziness, fever, experience shortness of breath and may also lead to an elevated heart rate. In this case, despite the presence of rich data on compounds, a chemical imbalance can lead to unsafe in patients and hence needs to be solved with some scientific breakthrough.

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